BOOK REVIEW: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Title: When We Left Cuba
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Publication: April 9, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 364

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly. 

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…


I had recently read the other book that revolves around another person in the Perez family.  I feel in love with the characters and when I saw that she had another book out but dealt with a different person in the family I knew that I had to read it.  My sister had bought the book and then passed it on to me to read when she finished.  I knew that I wanted to read it sooner rather than later so the other story was still fresh in my mind.  I was excited to read.

Beatriz Perez escaped Cuba in a hurry when Castro took over power from Batista.  They have settled in Palm Beach and have slowly entered society.  Beatriz is the wild card always has been.  She doesn’t mind if people talk about her.  She wants to do something to save her family so she gets involved in the CIA.  She meets an engaged man and falls in love and becomes a mistress.  Will she take things to far?  I really wanted to like this book.  I mean it was still good but not even close to Next Year in Havana.  I felt like Beatriz’s story just felt kind of forced and almost too cliche for the wild card sister/daughter/lover.  Don’t get me wrong the book was still really good, it just wasn’t something that I read through in three days, it took me at least a week to read it and that is very unusual for me. 

This story did have everything.  Romance, family feuds, sisterly love, and spies with a dash of murder.  The book was very well written, it just didn’t hold my attention like her other book did.  About 75% through the book, I caught myself wondering why I was actually finishing it.  But that that stage in the game I felt like I needed to finish.  I did really like Beatriz’s character, she was independent and knew what she liked and she wasn’t afraid to go for it.  I wish at times that I could be that way.  She didn’t let people make her a doormat.  I did feel horrible when she gave up the love of her life (spoiler…she does find love).  I will definitely be checking out more books by this author.  I do like her writing style and just because I didn’t particularly like this book by her doesn’t mean it won’t like other ones. 


Pick up your copy of When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. You can find more from author Chanel Cleeton on her website HERE!

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